How To Lower High Blood Sugar
With careful monitoring and control of your blood sugar levels, you can live a healthy life. There are a number of ways you can lower and prevent high blood sugar.
Learn to count carbohydrates: When you count carbs or keep track of what you are eating, you can control your blood sugar more efficiently. Set a maximum amount you can have each day for your meal,s and keep track to make sure you do not go past the limit. This helps to stabilize blood sugar and prevent dangerous spikes. Portion control is important too, so make sure your meals are not too large, as these can cause temporary spikes.
Try meal planning: To help keep track of your carbohydrate intake, start planning your meals. Based on the amount of carbohydrates you can have, plan meals accordingly, so you do not risk going above the set limit. When your meals are planned, you also avoid eating out or getting convenience food, which contains more sugar and fat, and will negatively affect your blood sugar.
Start a weight loss program: Obesity contributes to diabetes and impairs your bodys ability to process energy efficiently. Losing weight helps your body to use insulin more efficiently, and it reduces fat storage, which can trigger inflammation in the body.
The Blood Sugar Level Regulation Mechanism
When you eat rice, bread, or any other typical food high in carbohydrates, it is digested by the stomach and small intestine, where it is absorbed into the blood as glucose. Figure 1 shows how it is absorbed into the body.
Figure 1: Absorption of glucose
When glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin facilitates its uptake into the body’s cells. When an excess of glucose is ingested, insulin over secretion occurs. Insulin increases the biosynthesis of fat and suppresses its breakdown. Thus, it becomes easier for fat to accumulate in body tissues.
Blood sugar level will not drop if the sugar in the blood is not properly processed due to, for example, too little insulin being secreted, or resistance to the action of insulin. If blood sugar levels have not decreased several hours after eating on a regular basis, this indicates a susceptibility to diabetes. To avoid this and stay healthy, we should eat types of foods that will not cause a sudden, extreme rise in blood sugar levels.
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What is a healthy blood sugar level
- Fasting blood sugar level 99mg/dL
- Postprandial blood sugar level 7.8mmol/L
Different Levels And What They Mean
The ranges of safe levels of blood glucose depend on factors such as what time of day it is and when you last ate. Safe levels of blood sugar are high enough to supply your organs with the sugar they need, but low enough to prevent symptoms of hyperglycemia or complications of diabetes which follow the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases guides. Dangerous levels of blood glucose are outside of this range.
The target levels can also vary if you have diabetes. For example, if you are diabetic and are monitoring your blood sugar, you might get a reading of 65 mg/dl. That is considered to be mild hypoglycemia, and you would be wise to eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and retest your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
If you were not diabetic, you probably would not know that your sugar was low because you would not test and because you would not symptoms, and you would not act.
That is fine because your body is capable, under normal circumstances, of raising your blood glucose to healthy levels when needed, even if you have not eaten. It is important to keep them in control to help prevent issues like heart disease or nerve damage.
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High Blood Sugar Facts
- Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
- The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
- Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
- Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose.
What Are The Foods That Elevate Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is the essential fuel of the body produced by the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. In presence of insulin immunity or insufficient production of it may cause an increased level of blood sugar.
Blood sugar can be elevated by varieties of factors one of the factors which contribute to the regulation of blood sugar is the types of food we consume on daily basis. People should be aware of the foods which might have detrimental effects against diabetes.
Some food helps in reducing blood sugar levels however varieties of food might aggravate the conditions.
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Moderate To Severe High Blood Sugar
Moderate to severe symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Blurred vision.
- Flushed, hot, dry skin.
- Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.
If your body produces little or no insulin , you also may have:
- Rapid, deep breathing.
- A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
- A strong, fruity breath odour.
- Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.
If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you may become confused and lethargic. You also may become unconscious if your blood sugar levels are very high.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
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Trans & Saturated Fats
The consumption of fat is essential for the proper function of the body. The naturally occurring monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are rich in omega-3 fatty acids however, trans and saturated fats are harmful to diabetic people.
The digestion of saturated fats creates other metabolic disorders which may disrupt the regulation of blood sugar level. Because of its saturated nature, it is difficult to digest.
Fat-rich foods help in gaining weight which is a precursor to diabetic conditions and several vascular diseases. It also makes our heart at risk which is the aftereffects of diabetes.
Some of the fats which might risky for diabetic people includes:
- Trans Fat
- Coconut Oil
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
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Hormonal Changes In Menstruation Tend To Mess With Blood Sugar Levels
Widely known menstruation symptoms include low mood and certain food cravings, but did you know that the menstrual cycle can also cause blood sugar level swings? Blood sugar spikes during the ovulatory phase for a few days and then increases again in the last week of the cycle the days prior to the onset of a period, explains Dodell. This is due to peak levels of estrogen and progesterone. Also worth noting: Women in perimenopause, when hormone levels and menstrual periods are often irregular, are likely to find their blood sugar levels to be unpredictable, says Grieger.
If your menstrual cycle seems to affect your blood sugar levels, you may find it helpful to look for a monthly pattern in your blood sugar readings, the Mayo Clinic recommends. A pattern would allow you to predict changes in your blood sugar and to work with your doctor to adjust your treatment approach as needed throughout your cycle.
How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/12/2020.
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Medication And Supplements May Contribute To Blood Sugar Changes
Illness itself can increase blood sugar levels, but so can illness-fighting medication. A number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs even some vitamins and supplements can raise blood sugar. Examples include corticosteroids, asthma medication, birth control pills, certain antidepressants, and some medication for severe acne, Dodell says. While the exact causes arent completely clear, research suggests that changes in blood flow as well as direct effects on insulin release and receptors may explain why blood-pressure-lowering medication has the potential to spike blood sugar.
Its therefore important to let your doctor know about each and every medication you take, whether OTC or prescribed by another doctor, he says. They may be able to help you find an alternative medication that is better for your blood sugar levels or, alternatively, simply help you manage your blood sugar despite any sugar-increasing medicine.
Blood Sugar Spike Symptoms
Learning to recognize the symptoms of hyperglycemia can help you keep your diabetes in control. Some people with diabetes immediately feel the symptoms of high blood sugar, but others go undiagnosed for years because their symptoms are mild or vague.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia typically begin when your blood glucose goes above 250 milligrams per deciliter . Symptoms get worse the longer you go untreated.
Symptoms of a blood sugar spike include:
- frequent urination
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Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be Low
If blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL, it is below normal levels. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Not eating enough or missing a meal or snack
- Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you normally eat
- Alcohol consumption especially if youre drinking on an empty stomach
- Taking too much insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Increased physical activity
- Side effects from medications
If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose meter and sources of fast-acting glucose close by in case your blood sugar drops. This is especially important for people with hypoglycemia unawareness, which is a condition that causes symptoms of low blood sugar to go unnoticed.
Eating balanced meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day is a big part of maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Check out our article on meal planning for diabetes to better understand the three macronutrients where calories come from and which have the biggest effect on blood sugar.
Meal Planning for Diabetes: How to Optimize Your Diet >
Everyone will respond differently to certain factors, which is why its important to have individualized target glucose levels. To help you reach your target blood glucose goals, work with your healthcare provider to discuss modifications to your diet, physical activity, or medications, and alert them of other factors like a recent illness or stressful event.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Hyperglycemia
If you have diabetes, your doctor will set your upper and lower blood glucose level goals. The limit for hyperglycemia will vary with your age and will depend on whether or not you have eaten. Your doctor will let you know how often and when to check your blood sugar, or if you should use a CGM . Seeing your blood sugar level is the only way to know for sure if your glucose level is too high.
At appointments, your doctor can check your hemoglobin A1c level. An A1c test measures your long-term blood sugar control. It is an indicator of your average daily glucose levels over the last 2 to 3 months. A result higher than 7% generally means your blood sugar has been running higher than normal.
Your doctor may also perform a physical exam and ask several questions about your hyperglycemia symptoms including:
What symptoms are you having?
When did these symptoms start?
When do your symptoms occur? Are they continuous or do they come and go?
What, if anything, seems to make your symptoms better or worse?
What medical conditions do you have?
What medications do you take?
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How Are High Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Treating high blood sugar levels involves fixing what caused them in the first place. Your diabetes health care team will give you specific advice on how to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. But here are some ways to manage the common causes of high blood sugar levels:
|Reason for High Blood Sugar Level||What to Do|
|Not getting enough insulin or other diabetes medicine||
|Not following the meal plan||
|Not getting enough exercise||
|Illness or stress||
|Use of other medicines that can increase blood sugar||
Blood Sugar Spike: What To Do
Its important to know the symptoms of hyperglycemia. If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, perform a finger stick to check your level.
Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.
You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful only to use this method while closely following the recommendation of your doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .
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Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring: